One night, in the middle of a loud party with blasting music and bottled beers and people all crammed into this small house, I suddenly remembered that I had a movie that I needed to return to the video store. I went to the bedroom, and on the nightstand beside the alarm clock I found the sleeve that the movie had come in, but the VHS tape itself was nowhere to be found. I looked under the table and under the bed, but there was nothing. The bedroom was full of people too, and I shouted over the music to ask them about the movie. They shook their heads and swigged their beers and just grinned at me.
I think it was those grins that really got to me. Like they knew something and weren’t saying. I started yelling at other people. Someone had to know where this movie was. Someone had to have done something with it. I dreaded having to pay the fine, or even worse, the exorbitant fee that the store would charge to replace the movie altogether. The party kept on, heedless of my desperate frustrations. It felt like the whole of my life hinged on finding this movie and returning it. Otherwise it would be that thing forgotten, coming back to taunt me years later in sudden recollections, that one last piece of never finished business, that one drop of corrosive acid falling down the bottomless pit of my stomach, my head swimming, caught in the endless vertigo of that dark descent.
No, that movie had to be somewhere. In the kitchen I confronted a man with a moustache and a dark complexion. I was certain that he knew something; I don’t know why. He began to get violently angry at my accusations. I felt people crowding in behind me, and I knew that I was pushing the matter too far. I was going to end up getting hurt. But someone knew where that movie was. They had to know. I kept at the man with the moustache, agitating him to the point that his beer bottle shattered in his fist. His nostrils flared as he clutched the brown shards of glass. The suds dripped from his hand.
Still, despite myself I kept yelling. I felt the people all pressing in behind me, and I turned and saw that they were all friends and family of the man with the moustache. This was his house and his party. I didn’t know any of these people. I was a stranger here, making wild threats at the host. Hostile faces bore down on me in all directions, growling, seething, drawing ever closer. I would never find that movie.